Archive for 2012

December 27th, 2012

Tips On Where To Look For Mold In Your Home

Black mold in your home is dangerous.

Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DublinMold.jpg

Having mold in your home can pose a great risk to the health of your family, especially if anyone in your household has respiratory problems. Mold can be found where there is a source of water and food for it to grow on. This can include wood, fabrics, dust and dirt. Despite taking good measures to prevent the growth of mold, there is still a chance that it will grow undetected in several parts of your house. It is therefore important that you know where to look for mold in your home.

The basement is the most common area where you can find mold in your home. This area easily develops a moist and humid atmosphere, creating an enabling environment for mold to grow. You should regularly inspect the basement for any signs of mold, so you can eradicate it, before it becomes a health hazard to your family.

The attic is another area that develops conditions favorable for the growth of mold. Many people use it as a storage area, and do not bother cleaning it, sometimes for years. Any rain water that may have seeped into the attic, combined with the hot temperatures caused by the sun shining on the roof’s surface, will create conditions that will spur the growth of mold. You should therefore inspect, and clean your attic regularly to clear it of dust, dirt, and any water that may have leaked through.

The bathroom is another common area where you may find mold growing. This is an area where water is always running, and regular inspection will detect any growth of mold. The spaces between the tiles in the bathroom, and underneath the sinks, are areas that need regular checking.

The air-conditioning system can also spread mold throughout your home. The drain line, has a drip-pan, in which mold can grow. When you turn on your air-conditioning unit, the spores from the mold can be blown to various rooms in your home. Should you experience difficulties in breathing when you are in your house, but feel better once you leave it, then your air-conditioning system may be harboring mold growth.

If you do not know where to look for mold in your home, these are the most common areas to inspect at first. If the problem is serious, then you need to hire an expert to inspect your home, since there could be other areas where the mold could be growing.

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December 12th, 2012

Hiring Professional Property Management In Phoenix Az

Hiring professional property management in phoenixAnyone who has made the decision to purchase one or more rental properties in Phoenix to be used as an investment needs to be prepared to have an effective plan in place for managing the properties successfully. Successful property management includes finding good tenants, collecting rents on time, handling evictions and complaints in a timely manner, and ensuring that the properties are well maintained at all times.

Although owning Phoenix rental properties can be an excellent investment, many owners quickly discover that they simply do not have enough time available to take care of all the duties that are required of them. A property owner facing this situation has several choices to make. The property can be sold, the property can be neglected, or the owner can hire the services of a property manager to handle these tasks.

If the owner decides to hire a property manager, it is very important that the management services are reliable and that the service is reasonably priced. If the service is not reliable, tenants will be unhappy and will move out, causing a loss of revenue. If the service is too costly, all the profit of owning a rental property will be wiped out.

Hiring a Phoenix area management company to take care of the property can be the best solution if an owner has several properties or lives in another city. However, it is important to use the services of a company with high standards for ethical behavior. There are people and companies offering property management services who’s talk is cheap and fail to carry out their duties.

For this reason, it is very important to check the reputation of any company offering property management in Phoenix Az.  You will want to be certain that the company has the knowledge and experience to handle the job in a professional manner. You will need to ask how the company will handle any repairs that are needed. Some larger companies have their own repair crew while others will hire workers on a short term basis.

Before you hire a service to manage your property, you will need to check what fees each company charges. These companies typically charge the owner an amount that is between 5% – 10% of the rental fees they collect. In some cases, the fees can be as high as 20%. You will have to decide whether you can still make a profit from your rental properties when you take the management fees into account.

A good property management company will be responsive to the needs of the owner and the needs of the tenants. The owner needs to be kept well informed of any problems that develop and the problems that any tenants express need to be taken care of very quickly.

November 24th, 2012

3 Factors To Consider When Purchasing LED Fixtures For Home Lighting

LED fixturesLight emitting diode lighting (LED) technology is widely touted to be a revolutionary way for lighting homes. As such, it is likely to replace the general lighting services in use today that consist of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. LED lighting differs from conventional lighting in various ways. For starters, LED beams are directional, and tend to focus on specific points. Secondly, LED fixtures consist of combined fitting and bulb components.

During replacement, one changes the bulb as well as the entire lighting unit. Many homeowners lack comprehensive knowledge about the intricacies of LED lighting. For this reason, an energy conscious individual may not know where to begin when searching for these handy illumination units. To help solve that problem, here are three tips for homeowners looking to purchase LED lighting sources for their homes.

 

Uses of the Light Fixtures

The first point to consider when comparing LED lighting sources is their primary usage. As mentioned before, LED light bulbs are directional in nature. Therefore, they perform effectively in areas that require ambient illumination around ones home. As such, homeowners may choose this type of lighting for areas of the bathroom, hallways, kitchen, and basements. Some common LED fixtures that can work well with this technology include the following:

  • Spot Lights
  • Accent Lighting
  • Sconce Lighting
  • Recessed Lighting
  • Security Lighting
  • Decorative Lighting.

Homeowners can choose an appropriate lighting source from the above options, and decide on the best ones to install inside their houses.

 

Wattage of the Bulbs

LED bulb power ratings differ from conventional bulb wattage. General light service bulbs consume power according to their wattage, and the higher the wattage, the brighter a bulb glows. On the other hand, LED power ratings are quite intricate to calculate. Some LED bulb manufacturers usually indicate wattage, but this value may not represent the true power consumption of the bulb. The actual power consumption of LED light fixtures is relative to various factors, and rather difficult to estimate. Some of the factors that influence LED bulb power consumption include the beam angle of the lighting, LED color rating, and bulb power factor.

 

Color of the Bulb

LED bulbs are available in various colors just as is the case for normal general lighting services bulbs. However, LED color factor also refers to the “white color factor” of these bulbs. White color factor is the form of illumination the LED light source produces under natural lighting conditions. Manufacturers usually calculate color factor using a unit called Kelvin (K). Yellow and orange LEDs are just under 2000K, white and neutral bulbs have around 4000K, and bluish bulbs have the highest color temperature rating.

LED powered lighting is affordable and energy efficient. Many power companies are gradually developing LED light fixtures for homeowners to use. Knowledge about the application possibilities of these lights is essential to obtain the suitable bulbs for ones residence. Consider the three points detailed above when shopping for this innovative form of lighting.

November 23rd, 2012

LED Lighting Innovation – Promising A Bright Future

LED lighting energy saving bulbLighting is an important component in almost any setting or industry where a strong visual impact is important for promotion of the product or concept. While the light emitting diode (LED) has been used in commercial applications since 1962, the LED industry is now developing and introducing groundbreaking home applications. The popularity of residential LEDs comes as the result of several different designs and the many different ways that LEDs can be used in the home.

In simplest terms, a light emitting diode is a semiconductor that is designed to produce light. The original LEDs were low energy devices that only produced a low red light. Today’s LEDs emit generate a much higher intensity of light over a range of cool and bright colors.

One of the most impressive applications of the LED has been in flat screen TVs and computer monitors. LEDs are used as the means of displaying the screen image with amazing clarity, resolution and color accuracy that many favor over the competing LCD technology. LEDs provide a great picture that is easier on the eyes. However, TVs and computers make up a small part of the LED device’s uses.

This type of lighting can be found everywhere and it is rapidly replacing traditional lighting sources because of its efficiency, life, energy use and versatility. LEDs are up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs and last up to 15 years — seven years longer than incandescent bulbs. An LED also uses 80-90 percent less lighting energy and produces less heat. Environmentally, LEDs are recyclable because they do not contain mercury.

Light emitting diodes have the greatest use in a wide range of lighting applications. They are used for interior and exterior car lighting, aviation lighting, signs, traffic signals, smart lighting, fiber optics, medical technology, plant grow lighting, security lighting and even Christmas tree lighting. In fact, LEDs can be designed for any lighting use because there are a wide range of sizes and shapes for these devices.

One of the interesting characteristics of LED technology is that many of the devices are programmable. In other words, Infrared LED lighting in remote controls have been programmed and used for years to operate home entertainment systems. Newer “Smart Home” applications are now available to perform several functions:

 

  • Lighting Control — Modular LED lighting systems are available to change lighting levels and colors. The effect of altering lighting can create a mood by rearranging lighting intensity and color.
  • Security — Exterior LED lighting can be incorporated into an existing security system to brighten when the alarm comes on. Another application is to rotate turning light on and off while residents are away from home.
  • Home Entertainment Systems — A home system be designed to integrate lighting, curtains, sound and equipment operation into one set of controls.

The future of LED technology is unlimited. New applications in every industry and in the home will improve the way we live. Another obvious benefit is the reduction in energy use by retrofitting lighting systems to LED lighting. As innovation is bound to continue with this technology, LED lighting promises a bright future.

October 23rd, 2012

Scottsdale Property Management Companies, Great For Property Investors

scottsdale property managementA lot of property owners struggle with getting a good property manager, but once they do, they don’t really know what to do next. Both the property manager and the owner need to play a part in order for the system to work. Scottsdale property management companies offer plenty of options for someone looking to hire professional property managers who investors can work with to ensure their property makes you a profit.

Many owners struggle with getting emotionally attached to the property and often have a hard time delegating management to outsiders. The problems with that is if you don’t have the experience and know-how of managing property, such as rentals, office blocks or any kind of property, you would be setting yourself up for future problems.

This same factor becomes a problem when looking for new tenants, because some investors tend to wear their heart on their sleeve when purchasing a new property and they don’t look at it as a business. Tenants are important assets, because they help you pay the mortgage, so you should ensure that they are content.

When renting out apartments or offices, the property manager will ensure the tenants are comfortable. This insures they make top dollar, because it minimizes extended vacancies. All this is done in a way that doesn’t hurt the business so you don’t have anything to worry about.

Repair work can be very expensive, and if it’s needed very often, then it can ruin your business. Scottsdale property management is meant to be the solution for when your property needs proper maintenance in order to reduce the costs of recurring damages, which can be avoided.

If the walls need a fresh coat of paint or the tenants require a new air conditioner, it is up to the property manager to decide which is best for the both of you. Rental prices are always rising, and tenants are never willing to pay top dollar for something they can get at a bargain price. For this reason, your property needs to appear to tenants that they are getting their money’s worth, otherwise, it will stay vacant.

The importance of maintaining the quality of a property is that, in time, it continues to rise in value therefore being a great long term money spinner. The usual wear and tear expected from cheap establishment only makes property diminish in value and destroys business.

Overall, the amount of work required to manage a property and keep it in top condition while increasing its value requires one of the professional Scottsdale property management companies to do the job right. The work being put into a property will be reflected by the people who occupy it and if played well, both the occupants and the owner will see their value increase.

September 28th, 2012

The Secrets Behind YNAB

ynabYNAB is a leading personal financial software budgeting tool that helps people to develop a proactive plan which will ultimately pull them out of the drudgery of living paycheck to paycheck.  And this personal budgeting tool, named for the acronym of “You Need A Budget” (YNAB) is claiming exactly that is happening for those who use their tool.

What’s even more incredible is that these financial improvements are taking place while YNAB users are reporting they are spending less time managing their money.

The YNAB claims make it worth a closer look.  What exactly are they doing that can make this possible?  A deeper dive reveals the core difference; YNAB uses a “buffer” fund.  This fund is made up of savings that is equal to a month’s worth of personal expenses.

The concept is actually genius.  YNAB turn people’s focus towards employing each dollar to do what is most important for that dollar to do instead of just asking “do I have enough?”  The mentality causes a fundamental change in the mind.  The concept is significant enough that the software company reports that after using YNAB for one month, median increase in net worth is $200.  YNAB reports that after 9 months, that number increases to $3,300.  That is compelling.  Maybe there is something to the YNAB belief that the old school approach of living off estimated income is what is holding people back from realizing their financial goals.

Don’t currently have savings equal to one month in expenses?  No problem.  YNAB helps you get there.

YNABDoes it sound too good to be true?  Perhaps it does.  But YNAB has a 4 step methodology to show the way, and it accounts for the very common and very human behavior of over spending (see Rule 3).

•    Rule One: Give Every Dollar a Job (Change your mindset)
•    Rule Two: Save for a Rainy Day (Plan for the unexpected)
•    Rule Three: Roll with the Punches (Reality check)
•    Rule Four: Live on Last Month’s Income (Final state)

It is nice to discover YNAB’s claims are backed by a legitimate plan.  Still, does it really work?  What about one of the over 100 other budgeting tools out there?  Is YNAB the one to use?

Thank you information age.  Go check out www.personalfinancialsoftwarereviews.com to find one of the few places that documents an in-depth review (beyond the standard 1 or 2 paragraphs).  It’s a good spot to see how YNAB stacks up.  Also, find out what actual YNAB users think by interacting with them YNAB’s forum located on their site.

With the sort of results that YNAB is claiming can be yours, you’d be crazy not to.

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August 13th, 2012

The Benefits Of A Gilroy Property Management Company

gilroy property managementIf you own investment or rental property in Gilroy, California, you will certainly want to consider the advantages of working with an experienced Gilroy property management company. There are many real estate companies that offer management services in conjunction with their other activities, but these companies do not specialize in managing investment properties. They are in the real estate business and will manage investment properties as a side business. However, Real Property Management specializes in providing only top quality management services for all types of properties, it is their only business.

Owning an investment property is something that can take a considerable amount of time and energy. There is always something that needs to be done and, the constant issues with tenants, repairs, maintenance and other problems can make it seem like a losing proposition. This is especially true when you own more than one property. Unfortunately, even a single family home can create a lot of trouble for a landlord who does not have the time or training to manage an investment property effectively.

A Gilroy property management service will be able to ensure that you can maximize the potential profits from any investment property you own. They will take care of everything from advertising and interviewing tenants to executing lease agreements, renewals and other tenant related issues; however, in addition to making sure that the occupancy rates in your properties remain as high as possible, an experienced property manager will also oversee all aspects of repairs and maintenance.

A professional management company knows how to find the best tenants possible in order to ensure that evictions, unpaid rent and damages are minimized. There is no doubt that getting the wrong tenant into a unit can create a huge problem. Of course, it can also result in a substantial loss of income, as well as the time and trouble needed to go to court and have the tenant evicted. Knowing how to advertise the property, check references and past rental history can certainly be an advantage. Additionally, when you have a professional management company to take care of these details, you can rest assured that your investment property is being well managed without your constant supervision.

A Gilroy property management service will be able to qualify the best tenants to ensure that occupancy rates remain high, without undue problems created by unqualified tenants. They will also have the experience and expertise to make sure that all aspects of the property are maintained and managed in a professional manner. After all, if you want quality tenants, you need to make sure that your property is well-maintained. Not only will you be able to better retain your good tenants, but you can be assured that your investment will continue to hold its value and provide a reliable income source for many more years to come.

August 8th, 2012

Register A Trademark To Protect Your Rights In Business

register a trademarkIt is very important to know how to register a trademark when you have a product or service that you hope to use for commercial gain.  Trademarks may not always be necessary, but they are definitely recommended.  Disputes can arise over the rights to use a name, logo, or combination of the two. Having a trademark may not settle these disputes, but they can show that you have a valid claim to your product or idea.  Furthermore, it gives you some control over the product or idea.

One of the first things you have to do to register a trademark is make sure your product is eligible.  When you find you are eligible, you need to find out what type of trademark you need.  For instance, there are certification marks, collective marks and service marks.  You may want to protect colors, names, sounds, symbols and/or words that distinguish your products and services so that you can reserve them for use in commerce.

You will also need to make sure there is not already a trademark on the product or service you hope to reserve.  Fortunately, the Internet has made the process quite easy since you can search through one complete database to find the information you need.  You can even look for design codes if your trademark contains a design element.  Once you have confirmed that your trademark design is an original, you can start the actual application process to claim ownership of your trademark.

Registering the trademark may also be done online where you can make sure it is complete and accurate before you submit it.  The online process is probably the best way to go since mistakes on an application can cause some serious setbacks in the process.  Not only can your application be delayed, but it can also forfeit your original application fee, so you will end up having to pay to submit another application.

You should keep in mind that this process is only valid in the United States as other countries have their own regulations for applying for trademarks.  Furthermore, you cannot apply for a trademark from another country unless you have filed an application before a USPTO when you are overseas if the country is under the Madrid Protocol.  If you want to be sure you get the application process right no matter where you are, it is best to consult with a professional who understands the trademark process.

July 2nd, 2012

Great Choices In Custom Marble In Salt Lake City, Utah

marble salt lake cityWhen I began to investigate sourcing of natural stone in Utah, such as granite, limestone, soapstone, travertine, and marble,  Salt Lake City emerged with the top honors.  One of four American offices of Francini Marble is located in the Salt Lake, offering select quality products for residential and commercial projects.  The founder’s family home was in Carrerra, Italy, where internationally prized white marble is integral to the local culture and economy.

In today’s competitive marketplace, and with a struggling economy, customer service holds value at least equivalent to the dollar, and can be the distinguishing and deciding factor when making a purchase.  Francini Marble realizes the importance of service in any transaction, and the diverse and exotic inventory allows me to choose what I want rather than just what is available.   Purchasing offices are located in Brazil, India, and Italy, where the owner’s exotic tastes are reflected in unique and beautiful veining and coloring.  Quality follows the product from selection and distribution to sale and installation.  Standards have been established that give confidence in the utility and appearance of the final product.  If I want a counter top or surface to accentuate the entire décor, samples from the customer are requested of their furnishing (cabinetry, paint, etc.) to ensure proper matching.  As a stone can have varying hues and veining, I can examine and approve the entire piece prior to purchase, ranging in size from a tile to a block.

Custom houses become homes with personalized selections of materials and colors.  Designers and home owners can travel virtually to quarries the world over, while never leaving the state.  I know when I purchase marble, Salt Lake City is as far as I need to go to find a design and texture that seems to emerge from my own imagination.  If I need granite for the kitchen and marble for the boudoir, only one stop is necessary.  The experienced employees will prevent me from choosing the wrong stone for a given purpose, such as using a porous product near liquids that can stain, or putting a soft marble where it can be easily chipped with hard use.  If I buy in bulk from a large retailer, this priceless advice is not available and I could end up with an expensive purchase I regret for years.

The natural parks of the beehive state present many hues of reds and browns, with expansive views that invite dreams and creative expression.  It might surprise visitors to know that residents can choose custom marble as diverse and beautiful as Utah as well!

July 2nd, 2012

How I Decided On Granite in Boise

granite boiseFrom a customer in Idaho.

“It took a few weeks until I could decide on how to renovate my old kitchen counter, a laminate fixture that did not have enough space for most of my needs.  The old laminate counter was just eight feet by eighteen inches and it was necessary to have a new one in order to get the full use out of my kitchen.  There were several different options for the counter and the cost of granite at first made me wary about purchasing a countertop in one go.  However, eventually it became clear that granite was the best choice to replace a laminate countertop.

Granite proved to be beneficial due to its lasting quality.  So many of the testimonials available from the manufacturer made me realize how many other homeowners were in the position where they wanted an upgrade for their kitchen, but they wanted something more permanent than their previous fixture.  Granite has by far the best staying power, with enough strength to hold up thousands of pounds of pressure without cracking — strength that laminate or wood could never hope to match. A lot of granite, I learned, comes from mines within either Brazil or Finland and has as many colors as the spectrum of the rainbow.  An Imperial Red granite counter top looks like red sandstone while the Mascarello coloration has a smooth gold-silver color scheme.  What’s more, it was possible to add different colors on top of the counter and the counter edges easily.

One of the major benefits of granite is the ease of cleaning.  I found that it took steel wool and chemicals in order to eliminate some stains from laminate, while granite counter tops can be cleaned with little more than soap and water without worrying about scratching or scoring the surface.  A coat of polyurethane allowed even greater ease of cleaning.  It is possible to place a piece of citrus fruit upon the polyurethane counter and not worry about the acid wearing away at the table top.  Even a hot cup of coffee will not cause the surface to warp or develop blisters.

The countertop from Francini granite in Boise greatly exceeded my initial expectations about replacing the counter top.  The look of my kitchen turned from colorless and drab into a timeless centerpiece for my kitchen. Thank you to Francini Granite, Boise, ID.”

Tom S.